88. Grupo PRISA

Revenues 2014: € 1.413 billion




The Spanish Prisa Group is the largest media company on the Ibero-American market, which includes the Iberian Peninsula and Latin-America. 'Prisa' is an acronym of ' Promotora de Informaciones, Sociedad Anónima' (Promotion of Information, plc). The group is comprised of the most popular Spanish daily newspaper 'El Pais' and the television station 'TV Cuatro'. The  company is active in 22 countries. Prisa is based in Madrid and was co-founded in 1972 by  José Ortega Spottorno, one of Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset's sons.

General Information


Gran Vía 32
28013 Madrid
Phone: +34 91330 1079
Fax: +34-91330 1038

Legal Form: Public Company
Financial Year: 01/01 – 12/31
Founding Year: 1972

Table I. Economic Performance (€ Mio.)
Profit (Loss) after taxes28926279,89236,7(451.22)(72.87)50.583192228.9152.8




  • Juan Luis Cebrián Echarri, Chairman
  • D. Manuel Polanco Moreno, Deputy Chairman
  • José Luiz Sanz, CEO
  • Andrés Cardó, CEO, PRISA Radio & SER
  • Miguel Ángel Cayuela, CEO, SANTILLANA
  • Rosa Cullell Muniesa, CEO, Media Capital
  • Antonio García-Món, Secretary General
  • Pedro García Guillén, CEO, PRISA TV
  • Javier Lázaro, Chief Financial Officer
  • Bárbara Manrique de Lara, Corporate Communications, Marketing & External Relations Director
  • Fernando Martínez, Director of Strategic Planning, Management Control and Budgeting
    Manuel Mirat, CEO, EL PAÍS & PRISA Noticias


Board of Directors:

  • Juan Luis Cebrián Echarri
  • D. Manuel Polanco Moreno
  • José Luiz Sanz
  • Juan Arena de la Mora
  • Claudio Boada Pallarés
  • Borja Pérez Arauna
  • Roberto Alcántra Rojas
  • Jonh Paton
  • Antonio García-Món
  • Ariana Huffington
  • D. José Luis Leal Maldonado
  • Gregorio Maranon y Bertran de Lis
  • Alain Minc
  • Agnès Noguera Borel
  • Emmanuel Roman
  • Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León
  • Xavier Pujol Tobena


Major Shareholders: Rucandio (Familie Polanco) 34,94 % (Rucando owned 70.067 % before US-Fonds Liberty became shareholder). CEO and El País co-founder Cebrián owns 0.736 % of the company. New shareholders are Nicolás Berggruen (3.766% ) and Martin Franklin (2.286 %). Further 17% are in the hands of former shareholders of the Liberty Fonds via the Bank of America Corporation, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Asset Value Investors Limited. Since summer 2011 Daiwa Capital Markets Europe Ltd. holds a share of 6.294 %.



The founder of the Prisa Group, José Ortega Spottorno (1916-2002), son of the philosopher and author  José Ortega y Gasset was a learned engineer but dedicated lots of his time to writing. During the Spanish civil war, he and his family emigrated to Geneva. Unlike Ortega y Gasset, Spottorno returned to Spain once the war was over and became the head of the 'Revista de Occidente' magazine in 1962, which was founded by his father. According to his own statement in 1971, it was his goal to create and publish a paper modelled on the intellectual newspaper 'El Sol' (1917). The paper ought to be 'tolerant, open and European'. Furthermore, the newspaper shall defend freedom and democracy, the emergence of which he foresaw for the near future in Spain. In 1966, Spottorno founded the Alianza Editorial publisher to start with. Then and in cooperation with  Carlos Mendo and Darío Valcárcel, he launched the Prisa publishing group in 1972. The starting capital amounted to a meagre 500.000 Pesetas but was substantially increased in years to follow. In 1974, there were a total of 381 shareholders.

The core of the group is the national Spanish daily newspaper 'El Pais' (The Country). The founding of the paper in 1976, a few months after the demise of the dictator Franco, had been a historical necessity as the Italian journalist Giancarlo Salemi put it. After decades of censorship and controlled press, Spain was in dire need of an organ that that would accompany and support the Transición, the democratic upheaval of 1975-78. The first editorial of the newspaper from the 4th of May 1976 read as follows: “The reform of the state has not begun yet, that much we would like to say in our first issue. Please accept this impatient welcome as your first impression of a newspaper just born!”.

Thanks to a bit of luck in negotiations and the advocacy of Manuel Fraga, the Spanish ambassador in London, the Prisa Group managed to be awarded the permission by the ministry of information, which still was obligatory for the publication of a newspaper. The two  pioneering leaders were the publishers Jesús de Polanco (1929-2007) and the journalist Juan Luis Cebrián (born in 1944). The legal expert Polanco, who founded the Santillana publisher in 1958, personally vouched for the first printing press and paid the wages out of his own pocket. “He believed in a project that nobody else chose to believe in”, according to the first editor-in-chief of 'El Pais', Juan Luis Cebrián, who turned the paper into the most influential newspaper in all of Spain. In order to achieve just that, he adhered to the advice of  Jaques Fauvet, the editor-in-chief of the Parisian daily newspaper 'Le Monde'. The latter claimed that he sought to denounce any form of injustice in his columns and take the side of the minorities. The first few pages of 'El Pais' were always concerned with international matters, whereby Spain's situation in the European context would be emphasised in particular. In 1996,  Cebrián proudly looked back onto the early years of 'El Pais': The freedom that we fought to achieve was no gift, but rather a recent and successful conquest that must not be forgotten.”
Words that ring particularly true for the last week of February 1981, when the young Spanish democracy had been endangered by Lieutenant-Colonel Tejero's  attempted  of a coup d’etat. “El Pais” titled: “Putsch: El Pais, for the constitution”. A second special issue followed on the same day, sporting the headline “Putsch about to fail”, printed above a picture that shows Tejero with a raised pistol in parliament. Due to the clear standing of King Juan Carlos for the constitution and because of mass protests in the nation's large cities, the coup ultimately failed. When Cebrián withdrew from the position as editor-in-chief, 'El Pais' was the most-read paper in Spain, the nation a member of the European community for 20 years and the Prisa group about to embark on a considerable expansion course.

The head of Prisa,  Jesús de Polanco, transformed the group into a holding in 1984. In 1985, the radio operator Cadena SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión) is acquired, the predecessor of which had been two of the first radio stations in Spain, Radio Madrid and Radio Barcelona.  Cadena SER includes 285 radio stations all over the country. When Prisa also bought the 'Antena 3' radio network on top of it, the strongest competitors of the 'El Pais, the daily newspapers 'ABC' and 'El Mundo' (RCS Media Group in the mediadatabase) rally against the newly created 'information monopoly', due to the fact that Prisa was politically aligned with the social-democrat party PSOE of the former prime minister Felipe Gonzalez.

Polanco's reaction to the accusations is polemic and he calls the journalists from Madrid 'Slaves of their vanity' and speaks of a syndicate of interests. When the cartel office approved the fusion of Cadena SER and Antena 3 in 1994, another harsh exchange of opinions is triggered in the daily newspapers columns. Prisa and 'El Pais' are called the 'Voice of the executive' and 'propaganda institute'. The accusations are exaggerated, although it is true that Prisa had become a powerful press conglomerate by then. When the conservative party Partido Popular (PP) by José Maria Aznar rises to power in 1996, the holding owns (apart from El Pais itself and many broadcasting activities) 25 percent of 'Sogecable', which includes the first Spanish pay TV channel 'Canal+', two satellite channels as well as the film production company 'Sogecine'. On top of that, publishers „Gruppo Estructura-Cinco Dias“, „Edipaís“ and „Progresa“. In the years that followed the initial public offering in 2000, Prisa expanded first and foremost into Latin-America. In 2001, the Brazilian publisher 'Moderna' is acquired. In 2001, half of the Mexican radio station 'Radiopolis' is also added to the ranks (a joint-venture with the Mexican Televisa Group) and 2004 sees acquisitions of 'Caracol' (Columbia) and 'Radio Continental' (Argentina). Today, the Prisa Group is the largest media conglomerate in the Portuguese/Spanish language regions, according to its own statements at least.



Jesús de Polanco, one of the founders and long-standing chairman of the Prisa Group, died on the 21st of July 2007 at the age of 77. He was posthumously awarded the large cross of St. Isabel for his achievements, one of Spain's highest decorations. His employees used to call him 'Don Jesús' as a sign of reverence and his enemies from the conservative camp called him 'Jesus the almighty'. The man himself tended to say that he was basically 'an entrepreneur, plain and simple. A seller of books.' It had been with this exact philosophy, a mixture of understatement and down-to-earth mentality that Polanco succeeded in constructing one of the  largest media companies in the Spanish-spoken world, starting with several small publishing activities. He financed his law studies in Madrid by working as a book seller, before founding the Santillana in 1958. The publisher released educational books for the Latin-American market and is still part of Prisa today. The group, of which Polanco indirectly owned 64,4 percent, expanded quite considerably under his leadership. However, as far as the stock market was concerned, the company failed to cast a smile on its shareholders' faces. Hence, the price of a Prisa-stock sank from 20,8 to 3 Euros within the last ten years. In the war over the dominant position on the Spanish pay TV market, Polanco managed to take over the competition platform 'Via Digital' by the former national telephone company Telefonica. In Spain, television is a very lucrative business. Every Spanish citizen spends an average 242 minutes in front of the telly per day – a top position in Europe. The group's radio branch, Cadena SER, is the most successful radio company on the Iberian peninsula. Polanco was frequently in the focus of the public eye and subject of public debate in the still very deeply torn Spanish society due to being the founder of Spain's largest daily newspaper and chairman of the board of the nation's largest media company. The company was accused of being closely aligned with the long-standing social-democrat government behind Felipe Gonzalez, in whose term as prime minister the Prise Group managed to bloom and grow. However, the closeness has allegedly been one of ideals only and there had not been any intervention in the company' structures by the social democrats, explained the former editor-in-chief of 'El Pais', Jesús Ceberio in 1998. However, the Prisa Group could not enter the lucrative private television market until the social democrat Zapatero succeeded the conservative Aznar. In November 2005, the free TV channel 'Cuatro' started broadcasting.

Polanco was exposed to strong opposition from the ranks of the conservative Partido Popular, his response to which did not turn out to be a squeamish one. Most recently, he accused the party of the former prime minister Aznar to desire the outbreak of a new civil war. The PP decided to boycott all Prisa media during the election campaigns in 2007. Polanco called this remarkable campaign strategy a 'pure Franquism'. After his death, Ignacio de Polanco, 52,  one of the his four children took over the company leadership, who had been the vice-president up to that point. 'Continuity and development of my father's work are challenges that we will face and undertake with great success. We have the best employees one can think of.”, declared Polanco in a press release. Juan Luis Cebrián will remain the CEO, founding member of Prisa and long-standing editor-in-chief of 'El Pais'.

Business Fields


Daily Newspapers
The flag shop of the Prisa media company is the 'El Pais' daily newspaper, which sports a circulation of 370.000 copies (2010). The paper includes regional segments, such as for Andalusia, Galicia, Catalonia, Basque country, Madrid and Valencia. The supplements are entitled „Ciberpaís“ (IT and Electronics), „EP[3]“ (Youth), „El Babelia“ (Culture and Literature), „El Viajero“  (Travel), „EP[S]“ (Fashion and articles) and „Negocios“ (Economy)
Since 1998, the paper has been collaborating with 'Le Monde' and the 'New York Times'. In 2001, the 'International Herald Tribune' joined the network. The online edition www.elpais.com also enjoyed a successful development and faces off against 'El Mundo' in the battle for the market leadership in online-news services.

'El Pais' was the first Spanish quality newspaper to appoint an ombudsman and its own editor's office statutes. The 'Libro de Estilo' is considered a reference point for journalistic quality in Spain.'Rumours are not news', is but one of the statements include therein. The newcomer Javier Moreno (*1963) has been the leader of the paper since its 30th birthday in May 2006. He is only the fourth ever editor-in-chief and succeeds Juan Luis Cebrián, Joaquín Estefanía and Jesús Ceberio.

In the past, the paper succeeded in bringing in important authors as contributors, including  Manuel Vicent and Mario Vargas Llosa. The Nobel prize for literature – winner-to-be Gabriel García Márquez wrote about the relationship between journalism and literature in the 'El Pais' in 1981: “The worst thing about journalism is the fact that it needs only one false element to compromise all other elements without exception. Fiction on the other hand only needs a single reference point in reality that, if used correctly, can make even the most fantastical creatures appear real. The following rule contains the wrongfulness of both genres: In journalism, the necessity prevails to bring the truth to the surface, even though nobody might believe it. In literature on the other hand, you can make up anything, as long as the author is capable of making it possible for it all to be believed . . .”

The economy paper 'Cinco Dias' (Five Days) is published through the subsidiary 'Estructura'. Ever since the relaunch from 2001, it contains six parts that are published daily: „Empresas“ (Business Venture), „Opinión“ (Opinion), „Finanzas“ (Finance), „Mercados“ (Market), „Economia“ (Economy) and „Tendencias“, Other supplements are about fonds, research & development as well as pharmaceutics. The online issue can be found at „cincodias.com“.

75% of the sports newspaper 'AS' were acquired in July 1996. The paper primarily covers Spanish and international football leagues.

The Prisa group owns the largest Spanish radio station, 'Cadena SER', reaching more than 4,7 million listeners. Other channels are  „40 Principales“, „Cadena DIAL“, „M80 Radio“, „Máxima FM“ and „Radiolé“.

The Prisa group and its television subsidiary 'Sogecable' is the leader on the Spanish pay TV market. The Digital+ channel is subscribed by approximately 1,78 million people. Furthermore, the company operates a further 38 special interest channels in the Tres Cantos studios at Madrid, which are distributed via cable, satellite and Internet. In early 2010, Prisa sold the national TV channel 'Cuatro'. The 'Localio' network, which combined over a hundred regional television stations, had to be shut down due to a lacklustre rate of return. In Portugal, Prisa controls the most important TV station of the country, TV1, through the Media Capital shareholding and the Spanish company also operates cable stations for the Spanish-language market in the USA.

Television productions
„Plural Entertainment“ produces Spanish-language content such as quiz shows, documentary programs, series, shows, ads and video clips, but also feature films.

Film production
The production-subsidiary 'Sogecine' is one of the biggest of its kind in Spain and produces films like 'The Others' (Los Otros) by Alejandro Amenábar

The Santillana publisher combines the majority of Prisa's publishing activities. Santillana has been publishing educational books since the late 1950s and expanded its reach through acquisitions of other publishers such as Taurus, Alfaguara and Aguilar. Nowadays, the whole range of publishers churn out a broad palette, ranging from novels to travel guides. Apart from the aforementioned companies, the Prisa Group also contains SUMA and Punto de Lectura. 'Santanilla en Red' is the name of a project makes educational content available on the Internet.

In 2003, the Prisa Group merged its printing activities in Spain with the British company Polestar and the venture capital company Ibersuizas to become the new print-subsidiary „Dédalo Grupo Gráfico“.

The advertising companies 'GDM' and Box Publicidad market the advertising slots and advertising spaces in the Prisa media segments. 'Prisa Innova' specialises on the promotion and increase of the prominence of brands.

New Media
Since 2000, Prisa combines its Internet activities in the subsidiary company Prisacom, which includes sites by the biggest publications and stations (elpais.es, cincodias.com, as.com, los40.com, cadenaser.com). Prisa also holds 50% of shares of the service provider Infotecnica, which provides content that is accessible through mobile services. Prisa is also involved in broadband-Internet access through its 21,69% involvement in Iberbanda.

The 'Gran Via' event agency organises concerts and festivals.


Institute of Media and Communications Policy


Media Pluralism in Europe




Mediadb.eu is funded by medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg,


the Open Society Foundations' Media Program,


Germany's Federal Agency for Civic Education,


the Rudolf Augstein Foundation,


the city of Cologne, Germany,


and the State of Thuringia, Department of Commerce.